Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Another Narrow Escape

Image credit: JToons from ClipartOf

I was cruising down a hill on the bike path, late for work again, when I momentarily veered out of control onto a narrow strip of wet grass. In a moment of panic, I pictured myself slipping sideways, dumping the bike, or the more likely scenario, considering my speed: barreling off the dewy lawn into a pampas-grassed gully!

However, in that split second I managed to squeeze the rear brake, slightly, and gain enough control to steer the bike back onto asphalt, avoiding an accident altogether, and I continued on my way, breaking out in an adrenaline sweat. Phew!

Once again, the bike gods were on my side.

I always find it amusing - after the fact of course - how often I experience these narrow misses, yet somehow my bike handling skills (or luck) kick in, avoiding another potential incident.

That these instances occur, of course, is another story altogether. Riding on a segregated bike path means I subconsciously let my guard down and I am easily distracted: by daisies growing beside the path (have to pick some on the way home), by geese flying (wonder where they're headed?), by a rabbit (where is his burrow, I know it's around here somewhere). Sometimes the situation dictates I concentrate a bit harder (how would I construct those cool panniers I saw the other day)... and my thoughts wander down paths of their own.

It's great to have that clarity of mind all cyclists and runners experience, yet knowing when it's safe to explore these thoughts requires even greater skill. With one eye on the road. Or path.

You get the picture.


  1. This is a timely post for me. I just made a mistake on the road a couple of days ago that left me really rattled. I thought I had more time to cross a major arterial than I did. It was like a car appeared out of the blue, but it was really just a misjudgment on my part. That rarely happens, and it scared me. Oh man, was I ever on alert for the rest of that ride!

  2. I too find it much easier to get distracted on the segregated and "safe" bike path whereas on the road I feel like I need to ride with my head on a swivel, when I used to ride down 4th ave in Seattle at rush hour I would basically pretend I was in a video game with the difference being if I got hit and knocked off my bike there was no easy reboot. From the sounds of it you had as much skill as luck in recovering from your almost dumping the bike. I like to ride gravel with my road bike occasionally just to sharpen my skills as well as to remind myself what slippage feels like.

    1. I know I'm very lackadaisical when it comes to riding on bike paths. It's such a drastic change from the 15 years I rode on full alert on a high speed country road that perhaps I've swung too far! Have to keep practicing those bike handling skills...

  3. You do steer your bike where you look. I've found that out the hard way more than once but fortunately hung on and dug back on the asphalt as soon as I came to a space where it wasn't so steep.

    1. Yes, I've also found that to be true. But for a split second I often wonder if I'll slip or manage to pull through and get safely back onto the pavement.


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